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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Here Comes The Rain Again

We experienced a large amount of rain a couple of days ago, and I thought it was just one of those sporadic showers.  But big fat drops started coming down more often since then and thus making it obvious that summer in the Philippines might finally be over.   Now, what should I do with the rest of the strawberries left in the refrigerator?

As summer's last hurrah, I thought of making strawberry sauce to maximize the benefits of its freshness.  This accompanied our home-made cheesecake pancakes that we ate as an afternoon snack.  However, I can bet this is as good anytime of the day as any, including dessert time at the dinner table.  The "cheesecake" here comes from using cottage cheese for lesser calories, although you can use softened cream cheese if you want to be extra indulgent. 

While you can use ready-made pancake batter for this, I've included a recipe for batter from scratch.  It's very easy to make and wouldn't make much difference in prepping time.  I'm sure you'll enjoy making your own.

The Recipe

For the pancake batter:

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute if you want it sugar free)
1 egg
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cottage cheese (I used Nestlé's)
1 tsp. lemon zest, minced

1.  Heat a stovetop griddle or large skillet over medium heat.
2. Whisk milk, sugar, egg, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to the egg mixture; stir until just incorporated.  If there are a few lumps left, this is fine.  Blend in cottage cheese and lemon zest.
4. Spray hot griddle or skillet with cooking spray then pour 1/3 cup batter per pancake into it.  Cook 3 minutes, or until bubbly on top then flip and cook another 2 minutes or so.  Transfer to plate and keep warm while working with the rest of the batter. 
5. Serve with strawberry sauce, graham cracker crumbs and sour cream or yogurt (as a light alternative).

For the strawberry sauce:

4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. orange zest, minced

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes, or until strawberries soften.

For Graham Cracker Crumb Topping:

4 Tbsp. salted butter
1 cup crushed graham crackers
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add remaining ingredients and cook until toasted, stirring often (about 5 minutes).  Sprinkle on top of pancakes.

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